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String of firms that failed under controversial owner Greybull Capital

Press Association logoPress Association 22/05/2019 By Henry Saker-Clark, Press Association City Reporter
a close up of a sign: (Danny Lawson/PA) © Danny Lawson (Danny Lawson/PA)

British Steel has collapsed into receivership, leaving thousands of staff facing redundancy, after owner Greybull Capital failed in its attempts to win financial support from the Government.

The downfall of British Steel has brought scrutiny on private equity giant Greybull, but is not the firm’s first encounter with controversy.

British Steel is the latest in a line of UK firms which have become insolvent under the ownership of the fund run by the wealthy Meyohas and Perlhagen families.

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building: Marc and Nathaniel Meyohas of Greybull Capital (Yui Mok/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Marc and Nathaniel Meyohas of Greybull Capital (Yui Mok/PA)

Until now, Greybull’s most high-profile failure was the collapse of airline Monarch under its ownership in 2017.

The airline left more than 80,000 tourists stranded after it went bust with debts of almost £500 million, at an estimated cost of £60 million to the taxpayer.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: Monarch (Steve Parsons/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Monarch (Steve Parsons/PA)

It held on to Monarch’s engineering arm, Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd, until January when that unit also slid into administration with the loss of 408 jobs.

Greybull was also a leading backer in OpCapita’s acquisition of electrical retailer Comet in 2012 for £2.

A year later, the British retailer, which had 236 stores and employed 7,000 staff, collapsed into administration and closed all of its outlets after a restructuring programme failed to deliver profitability.

a store inside of a building: Comet (Ian West/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Comet (Ian West/PA)

Another notable failure was the M Local convenience store chain, which was bought from Morrisons by a team led by retail entrepreneur Mike Greene, and backed by Greybull, for £25 million in 2015.

The chain was rebranded as My Local, but dived into administration in June 2016, resulting in the closure of 90 stores with more than 1,200 employees laid off.

Greybull also oversaw the collapse of sports bar and snooker hall brand Rileys, which it purchased through a pre-pack administration in 2012.

The fund shed around half of the group’s sites to drive profitability, but ultimately attempted to sell the company on in 2014.

After no buyer came forward to purchase the chain, it was placed into administration for a second time, before its 15 remaining sites were shut down by administrators Deloitte.

Gallery: 15 companies facing a make-or-break 2019 (Lovemoney)

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